If there’s anything about the Australian home that stays true any day of the year, it’s that we love our outdoor space. We use it to house lush gardens, cool swimming pools, and the ever important outdoor grill. Our outdoor spaces are spaces we use to make, keep, and share memories that we will cherish for years to come.
Though our memories are sure to last us through time and tide, we can’t confidently say the same for our outdoor paving. Our outdoor floors take on the elements 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect your floors to eventually wear down over time. And when it comes to some of the more upmarket flooring options such as flagstones, the cracks they will eventually get will be quite painful both to the eyes and to the wallet.
Luckily, one alternative is making the rounds throughout Australia and growing in popularity as a great outdoor paving material due to its many benefits and relatively low cost. This material is called liquid limestone, and we will be learning all about it today.
So what is liquid limestone?
Although there are some liquid limestone providers who like to shroud their product in mystery, we will come forward and dispel the magic behind the material. In essence, liquid limestone is really just a different kind of concrete with a slightly fancier name. Concrete is made up of a variety of different materials, but you can essentially boil it down into two groups – the aggregate that defines most of the physical characteristics of the concrete, and the cement that glues and holds the aggregate together. Liquid limestone, then, is just a different take on the same product; but while typical concrete uses gravel as their aggregate material, liquid limestone uses, well, limestone.
What makes liquid limestone better than, say, stone pavers?
As liquid limestone makes use of crushed limestone as its aggregate, the resulting material inherits some of the characteristics of its originating material. One of its most unique and sought after characteristics is its ability to stay cool even under the heat of the Australian summer sun. This is made possible thanks to the porous nature of the limestone aggregate, giving its poured counterpart a large surface area that helps dissipate heat much more quickly than more traditional outdoor paving materials. Since natural limestone can be found in multiple colours ranging from white and beige to grey, black, and even a greyish blue, you can find liquid limestone in a similar range of colours that are made even wider through the use of various finishes.
Of course, what sets liquid limestone apart from other outdoor pavers is not just the characteristics of the limestone – it also inherits some of the useful traits of concrete, such as its high versatility when it comes to moulding. You can have your liquid limestone pavement set in all sorts of shapes and forms, as well as have a variety of patterns moulded into the surface of the pavement for a more textured look. Much like concrete, liquid limestone is also highly resilient and capable of weathering the elements, reducing the incidence of warping, cracks, and weeds growing through the pavement.
Okay, I’m sold. How do I get it for my home?
Getting liquid limestone for your home is a pretty simple process that occurs in three stages, the first being appointment. Once you give your liquid limestone providers a call, they will get back to you with a quote for the service. After you have accepted the quotation, the service representative should help you set up an appropriate date and time (usually 1 to 2 weeks after the call) for the laying of your liquid limestone pavers. It is also around this time that you will be discussing the kind of colour and design you want for your limestone paver, typically occurring over email.
Once the date has been set, it’s time for the next phase: preparing the yard. Depending on how your yard is set up, you may or may not already have existing stone or brick pavers on your yard. If you do, this must be removed before laying in the liquid limestone. Liquid Limestone providers such as Fluid Concrete will typically have a service to help you prepare your yard, or you can do it yourself by renting out a Bobcat machine.
On the day of your appointment, you won’t really need to do anything as most of the work will be handled by your provider. Installing the liquid limestone floor takes place over several steps. The first step is to determine and build the form work – these are the plates and frames into which the liquid limestone will be poured, which are called forms or moulds. Pouring the limestone into these forms constitutes the next step. After pouring, the liquid limestone will be flattened and set at a slight angle or fall to allow any water to drain out, then smoother out and compacted to prevent cracking. Additional cracking prevention is also done by applying a pattern of your choice – control zones can be applied to the pattern to encourage cracking in inconspicuous areas. Once this is done, the liquid limestone is cleaned with a pressure washer and a sealant is applied to prevent dust and debris from entering into the pores of the limestone, keeping it from staining.
Much like concrete, liquid limestone can not be used immediately after setting. In general, liquid limestone floors can be walked on a day after it sets, but it is recommended to avoid driving on it until after a week to ensure its long term integrity.
Great outdoor paving is something that will last you through the years while looking and feeling practically flawless. However, some of the most sought after solutions also tend to be some of the most expensive. If you are a home owner who does not want to compromise on quality whole also wanting to stay within a lower budget, liquid limestone pavers might be the solution that fits your outdoor space’s needs.